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Statewide pot initiative kicks off
Written by Felisa Cardona - Denver Post   
Wednesday, 01 March 2006
Keith Guild was first in line to sign a petition on the steps of the state Capitol that would place a marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.
The 30-year-old trial preparer used his lunch break today to put his name on the list of Coloradans who want a chance to vote on the issue.

"I voted in the last election to make it legal in Denver and it didn't seem to do anything," Guild said. "It seems like a waste of time and effort as far as the city having to police marijuana."

Members of SAFER, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, kicked off the petition drive, vowing to collect at least 110,000 signatures to put an initiative on the ballot even though they only need 68,000 to sign.

SAFER challenged Gov. Bill Owens, Attorney General John Suthers and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to sign the petition at the Capitol. The three did not show up.

If the law passes, it would allow adults older than 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuna.

SAFER campaign director Mason Tvert said about 300 people have already asked if they can volunteer to collect signatures.

"They believe that it can happen," Tvert said. "People believe this is the beginning of a tipping point in the way we do things in this country."

Polls showed that 51 percent of Coloradans would not support legalization while 37 percent would.

Those figures won't deter the cause, Tvert said, because educating people that marijuana is safer than alcohol is partly the focus of the statewide campaign.

If the intiative passes, it does not mean that marijuana will be legal everywhere in Colorado. Police would be allowed to enforce laws in individual cities banning possession, Tvert said.

"Law enforcement should not have to worry about a person smoking a joint in their own house," Tvert said. "There's no more reason to keep it illegal. We could save countless dollars to worry about other things."
 

P.O. Box 40332 – Denver, CO 80204 – Phone: 303-861-0915 – mail@saferchoice.org